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Suspected mastermind of Haiti president’s assassination arrested

Haiti’s national police on Sunday announced the arrest of the suspected mastermind in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

• July 12, 2021
Suspected killers of Haiti President
Suspected killers of Haiti President

Haiti’s national police on Sunday announced the arrest of the suspected mastermind in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

A Haitian doctor living in Florida was arrested, police chief Leon Charles said at a news conference.

Mr Charles told journalists the suspected killers called him after the attack and that the police found “evidence” in his flat.

The 63-year-old doctor recently arrived in Haiti on a private plane to seize the presidency, said the police chief, adding that the alleged mastermind hired Colombian mercenaries through a private Venezuelan security firm based in Florida.

The doctor is the third U.S. resident of Haitian origin – and the 21st person overall – to be detained as a suspect in the case.

The other two also reportedly lived in Florida, some 1,000 kilometres away from Haiti.

Police said 26 Colombian mercenaries were involved in the murder. Three of the assailants were killed, 18 in detention, and the police said they were seeking the remaining five.

High-ranking U.S. officials expected to help with the investigation met with Mr Charles on Sunday.

The late Moise was shot dead at his residence in Port-au-Prince in the early hours of Wednesday. His wife Martine was seriously injured and taken to Florida for treatment.

The reasons for the attack remain unclear.

Mr Moise, in office since 2017, was extremely unpopular. He was accused of corruption, links to brutal gangs, and autocratic tendencies. The impoverished Caribbean nation was already gripped by a power struggle.

Two men have declared themselves interim prime minister, and the Senate elected its leader Joseph Lambert to succeed Mr Moise as president on an interim basis on Friday.

Mr Lambert supports Ariel Henry as prime minister. Mr Henry had been appointed as premier by Mr Moise on Monday, but interim prime minister Claude Joseph has been in charge of the government since the murder.

Presidential and legislative elections in the country are scheduled for September.


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